November 9, 2017

Grenfell Tower aftermath – single law needed for all building and fire regulations

News Article

An independent review, convened following the Grenfell Tower fire, has been told that all building and fire legislation should be consolidated into one single law in order to provide a ‘common language and a common style.’

The recommendation to the Hackitt Review comes from the Construction and Industry Council (CIC) which believes that amalgamating the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRFSO) with the Building Regulations, will provide the construction industry with a “more robust and transparent overview of requirements”.

According to the CIC, the two current sets of regulations have “differences in style, definitions and descriptions” and set out different roles for two bodies – building control and the fire service – which are “trying to achieve the same aim at different points of the building life”.

“It would be beneficial to have a more concise suite of legislation that more clearly sets out the requirements and responsibilities at each stage of the process, from original design and through the life of the building, including changes and refurbishments later in the building’s life,” it added.

The construction industry body argued that the new streamlined law should not be subject to the government’s “one in, three out” deregulatory approach to legislation, which seeks to reduce duties on businesses.

“The CIC feels strongly that critical issues of life safety, including building safety, should not be subject to constraints such as a political objective of reducing the regulatory burden on business in general,” it said.

Adam Davis, a Partner, said: “Construction regulations are notoriously complex and any initiative which makes them more transparent and easy to comply with, will undoubtedly be welcomed by the industry.”

The independent review of building regulations and fire safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt, chair of manufacturers’ body EEF and a former chair of the HSE, has been looking at regulatory systems used in other industries and other countries as it investigates the effectiveness of UK regulation in protecting people and buildings. Its final report is due by spring 2018.

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